New airline routes launched (20 – 26 March 2012)

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Route of the Week:
Qantas’ Sydney to Santiago de Chile

Sydney welcomed the new Qantas service to Santiago de Chile with a round of cupcakes and touch of regional folklore; meanwhile in Santiago, John Travolta, which is the airline’s ambassador, joined Wally Mariani, Qantas’ SEVP The Americas and Pacific, who explained: “Quite prudently, we start with three weekly flights, but expect to increase it to daily sooner rather than later.”

  • With the start of the summer season, Qantas introduced major changes to its South American network, dropping Buenos Aires in favour of Santiago de Chile (SCL), which is now served from the airline’s hub in Sydney (SYD) with thrice-weekly frequencies. The move comes as part of a cross-network streamlining exercise, which is envisaged to improve the airline’s results and will be continued throughout the year. The Chilean capital, which is also the home base for the fellow oneworld alliance member LAN Airlines is now served with 747-400s. There is no direct competition on the route, although LAN Airlines serves the Sydney six times a week via Auckland.

Cake of the Week:

Vote for Cake of the WeekIn the first two days of the 2012 summer scheduling season, 21 spectacular route launch cakes were baked. It would be far too difficult for us to choose the worthy winner of our Cake of the Week prize among them, so we leave it to you – our readers – to cast the vote. To see a summary of the amazing cakes and vote for your favourite, click here.

The rest of this week’s new routes

Adria Airways launches services from Ljubljana to London Luton

The launch of the new service from London Luton to Ljubljana was celebrated by the Ambassador of Slovenia to the UK, Iztok Jarc; Glyn Jones, Managing Director, London Luton Airport; Tine Murn, Head of UK Communication, Slovenian Tourist Office ; and Alen Mlekuz, Adria Airways’ Director Corporate Communications.

  • On 25 March, Adria Airways inaugurated flights from Ljubljana (LJU) to London Luton (LTN), having previously served London market through Gatwick Airport for a decade. The new destination, which is Adria’s only to the UK and was referred to in a recent analysis, is offered with four weekly frequencies and operated with 125-seat A319s. The airline faces indirect competition from easyJet’s six weekly flights out of Stansted Airport.

Cork’s new route to the European capital Brussels was celebrated with this suitcase cake, featuring Belgian chocolates and Leffe beer. Welcoming the new service were Aer Lingus crew along with Liz O’Farrell, Aviation Business Development, Cork Airport; Alan Long, Aer Lingus Station Manager; and Kevin Cullinane, Cork Airport’s Manager Aviation Business Development.

Brussels Airport’s cake to welcome the new Cork service had a clear leprechaun theme. The ribbon for the important new route was cut by the airport’s CEO Arnaud Feist, Aer Lingus’ CEO Christoph Mueller, as well as the Ambassador of Ireland to Belgium, Eamonn MacAodha.

  • Aer Lingus has added two new destinations from its main Dublin (DUB) base on 25 March. The airline returns to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) for the first time in several years with four weekly A320 flights, and has launched Verona (VRN) in Italy as a seasonal destination, served twice weekly with the same aircraft type. Coincidentally, Ryanair is also starting Verona flights this week. Ryanair also operates to Stockholm but serves the more out-of-town airport at Skavsta. Aer Lingus is also expanding from Cork (ORK) in the southwest of Ireland with the addition of a new three-times weekly service to the Belgian – and European – capital Brussels (BRU), which operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This means that the carrier will now be serving 22 destinations non-stop from Cork, eight of which are in the UK, a further five in Spain and three more in France. This is the first time there is a non-stop service between the west of Ireland and Belgium since Ryanair dropped its route between Shannon and Brussels Charleroi in 2010. The new Cork-Brussels service has received large support from the Brussels-based expat organisation The Irish in Europe Association, which renamed Brussels’ Irish Village ‘Cork Irish Village’ for 2012 because of the new route.

Aeroflot launches five new Sukhoi Superjet 100 routes

Aeroflot’s scheduling to Vilnius Airport is a selling-point. The Lithuanian capital airport’s Managing Director Tomas Vaišvila commented the late evening arrival and early morning departure: “Passengers from Vilnius Airport to Moscow can already choose one out of 25 direct flights per week, whereas the new Aeroflot’s route is convenient for people travelling on business purposes – the time of departure and arrival enables passengers to spend the entire business day in Moscow and to return to Lithuania in the evening.”

  • Aeroflot launched five new routes out of its Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) hub on 25 March; two domestic, two to regional destinations in the Ukraine and one to Lithuania’s capital. Each route operates daily with the Russian national carrier’s 87-seat Sukhoi Superjet aircraft. Domestically, the SkyTeam member now flies to Nizhnekamsk (NBC) and Orenburg (REN) east of the capital. Although there is no direct competition on the routes, Ak Bars Aero and UTair each operate twice-daily from Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports, while Orenair and S7 serve Domodedovo thrice-daily and daily respectively. In the Ukraine, Aeroflot now operates to Dniepropetrovsk (DNK) and Donetsk (DOK), competing with Aerosvit’s each twice-daily operations on the same routes. The flights to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius (VNO) resume Aeroflot’s operations to the city, which it last served nine years ago. Indirect competition comes from UTair’s twice-daily flights from Vnukovo and Transaero’s four weekly flights from Domodedovo.

The new Air France route from Marseille was welcomed to Hamburg with a cake in the French colours. The inaugural flight’s crew was also greeted with flowers in matching colours. This is Air France’s second route to the northern German city after Paris CDG, but a third French airport will soon join as the airline launches flights from the fellow Airbus-city of Toulouse.

  • With the start of the summer season, Air France took the opportunity to further expand its presence in Marseille (MRS), bringing the number of destinations served nonstop to 28. The French flag carrier launched a total of four international routes, including three destinations in the EU and one in Morocco, from the Mediterranean airport, which is headed for a record 2012, as reported in our recent analysis. From 25 March, the airline will fly twice-weekly to Barcelona (BCN), thrice-weekly to Marrakech (RAK), while four and five weekly frequencies will be offered respectively to Hamburg (HAM) and Venice (VCE). All four routes will be served with equipment from the A320 family. In addition, the airline’s regional division now offers daily services connecting the south-western French city of Bordeaux (BOD) and Barcelona (BCN); 76 seats per departure are offered on the E170s deployed on the route. Air France will face the Spanish low-cost Vueling in both Barcelona-bound markets, from Bordeaux three times weekly and Marseille with four weekly flights, as well as Royal Air Maroc’s six and Ryanair’s five weekly frequencies on the Marseille to Marrakech routing.

Air One, Alitalia’s low-cost airline, flies to London and Munich from Milan

Competition to Lufthansa on key route: The Italian-coloured ribbon held by Air One’s cabin crew members was cut by Gianluca Marchio, Air One’s Marketing Manager; Pierfrancesco Carino, Alitalia’s Country Manager Germany, Austria & Switzerland; Munich Airport’s President and CEO Michael Kerkloh; and Filippo Scamacca del Murgo, Italian Consul General to Munich. Air One now flies 12 times weekly between Milan Malpensa and Munich.

  • Air One, Alitalia’s low-cost subsidiary, expanded at its main base at Milan Malpensa (MXP) on 25 March by launching two new routes with its A320 aircraft. Flights to London Gatwick (LGW) are operated twice-daily in competition with easyJet’s 32 and Monarch’s six weekly flights, while the 12 flights a week to Munich (MUC) compete with Lufthansa’s 45 weekly operations. The two new routes are Air One’s only services to the UK and Germany, as the airline previously has focused on a mostly domestic and southern European network.

airberlin introduces second Abu Dhabi route

airberlin has launched its second route to Abu Dhabi – the home of its partner Etihad. Celebrating the route from Düsseldorf was the airport’s Director Aviation Marketing Ulrich Topp (holding sign) together with the crew of the first flight: Andrea Jebe; captain Hans-Wilhelm Reuter; Constanze Komp; Snezana Bjelan; first officer Dirk Pleimling; Kalle Hansen, airberlin's media cooperation and events manager; Andrea Achtelik; Kurt Schröder; Simone Hering; and Tobias Lange. (Photo: Andreas Wiese)

  • The new relationship between Germany’s airberlin and the UAE’s Etihad has resulted in the German carrier introducing a second service to Abu Dhabi (AUH); this time from Düsseldorf (DUS). The daily A330-300 service will complement Etihad’s own Düsseldorf service, which started last December with four weekly flights and has now been increased to daily for the summer season. airberlin’s existing Berlin to Abu Dhabi service increases from four weekly flights to daily and will then carry on to Phuket (HKT) in Thailand. airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn said: “By adding new daily connections from Berlin and Düsseldorf to Abu Dhabi, we are reinforcing our hubs and strengthening our strategic partnership with Etihad Airways. Flight Guests who fly airberlin can now take daily trips to the Thai holiday island of Phuket, and our business guests will benefit from more frequent flights to Bangkok.”

General Santos in the Philippines celebrated the arrival of two new AirPhil Express services. The low cost airline launched flights from both Cebu and Iloilo City, each operating three times weekly.

Also in Dipolog were there celebrations as AirPhil Express launched Cebu services with its Q400 aircraft.

  • On 22 March, AirPhil Express expanded its presence in Cebu (CEB), launching three new domestic routes. Dipolog (DPL), General Santos (GES) and Puerto Princesa (PPS) are each served with thrice-weekly flights. 76-seat Q400s will be used on all three routes. AirPhil Express faces competition from another Philippine carrier in all new markets from its Cebu base; Cebu Pacific offers six weekly flights to Dipolog, seven weekly to General Santos and 10 to Puerto Princesa. In addition to its growth at Cebu, AirPhil Express launched serviced from General Santos (GES) to Iloilo City (ILO) on Panay Island. The 600-kilometre route will be served thrice-weekly using the same equipment.

The crew on the first flight are here seen posing in front of the aircraft parked at the Lithuanian capital airport.

With 50-seat CRJ200s, Ak Bars Aero now serves Vilnius Airport from St Petersburg – a route that has only briefly been operated since Lithuania’s independence. The crew on the first flight are here seen posing in front of the aircraft parked at the Lithuanian capital airport.

  • Ak Bars Aero, the Tatarstan-based Russian airline, launched its first international service out of St Petersburg (LED) on 25 March when the airline launched twice-weekly flights to Lithuania’s capital Vilnius (VNO). The 650-kilometre route is operated with 50-seat CRJ200LR aircraft. This is the fourth Russian route to Vilnius and its only service from Russia from outside Moscow, from where it is (as of this week) also served from all three airports. The last time the route was operated was in 2005, when Lithuanian Airlines briefly served the city pair; however, Vilnius Airport’s Managing Director Tomas Vaišvila pointed out the lack of regular flights: “According to a historically established tradition, a train trip is the most popular way to reach Saint Petersburg from Lithuania – basically, there has been no regular communication by air with this city for 20 years.”

  • ANA All Nippon Airways launched two domestic routes on 25 March. From its Tokyo Narita (NRT) hub, the Star Alliance airline’s regional subsidiary Air Nippon now flies daily to Niigata (KIJ) in the northwest of the country, a distance of 270 kilometres, with 56-seat Q300s. There are no other air routes to either Tokyo airport, but the city is connected with the country capital by high-speed rail. The same day, ANA also connected Fukuoka (FUK) with Miyazaki (KMI), both on the southern island of Kyushu. The 210-kilometre route is operated twice-daily with 737-500s, competing with JAL’s subsidiary Japan Air Commuter, which operates the route 63 times a week.

  • Anadolujet, the low-cost brand of Turkish Airlines, moved its Moscow operations from Domodedovo to Moscow Vnukovo (VKO); a move that is in line with its full-service parent’s Moscow strategy. The route from Turkey’s country capital Ankara (ESB) is operated daily.

Blue1’s Copenhagen base and consequent new routes to Vaasa and Oulu were celebrated with this smiling aircraft cake. At the Vaasa route launch were the Danish Minister of Trade and Investments Pia Olsen Dyhr; Blue1’s VP Communications Tom Christides; Kaj Ericsson, Honorary Consul of Denmark in Vaasa; Lars Bernhard, CEO Wonderful Copenhagen; and Copenhagen Airports’ VP Market and Sales Carsten Norland.

The Swedish and Finnish flags are united by Blue1 on this cake welcoming Blue1’s new service to Kokkola-Pietarsaari Airport, baked by students at the local bakery college Optima in Jakobstad (Pietarsaari in Finnish). The new route to the Swedish capital operates 12 times weekly.

  • Blue1, SAS’ Finnish subsidiary, continued expanding in the Scandinavian market in line with its most recent strategy, which involves feeding its parent’s hubs. On 25 March, the Star Alliance member launched five new routes; two of which are from the airline’s new, foreign base in Copenhagen (CPH). From the Danish capital, the airline now flies daily with 717s to Vaasa (VAA) in western Finland. The airline also flies to Oulu (OUL) in northwestern Finland from both Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) five times weekly and Copenhagen four times a week; both also with 717 aircraft. These are the only international scheduled non-stop routes at Oulu, which Blue1 also serves from the country capital Helsinki. Stefan Wentjärvi, Blue1’s CEO, commented: “Today, passengers travelling from Finnish provincial airports to international destinations must change flights at Helsinki, which offers only half as many European and intercontinental destinations as Copenhagen. By flying via Copenhagen, Finnish travellers will have much more flight connections to choose from.” Blue1 also connected two regional western Finnish airports with the Swedish capital, using 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft operated by Golden Air. Flights to Stockholm Arlanda from Kokkola (KOK) operate 12 times weekly, while Pori (POR) gets 11 weekly flights.

  • While the longer-term future of bmibaby is still being discussed behind closed doors, the airline celebrated its 10th birthday on 20 March, making it one of the oldest European LCCs still operating with the same name. The new summer season sees the airline expanding its network from Belfast City (BHD), one of its three current bases (the others are Birmingham and East Midlands, after it pulled out of Cardiff and Manchester). The new routes are all ‘summer sun’ destinations in the Mediterranean; Alicante (ALC), Faro (FAO) and Malaga (AGP). All three will be served with between two and three weekly flights. Although no other carrier operates these routes from Belfast City, both Aer Lingus and easyJet serve all three destinations from Belfast International, with also in the mix on Alicante and Faro.

  • With the start of the summer season, British Airways added two new destinations to its London Gatwick (LGW) network. The North African city of Algiers (ALG) is now served on a daily basis, as the airline moves the service from London Heathrow. There is no direct competition on the A319-operated route, although Air Algerie’s five weekly flights from London Heathrow to the Algerian capital cater to the same market. Nice (NCE) is the second new destination offered by the British flag carrier from Gatwick Airport this summer season, and will be served with thrice-weekly frequencies. The Nice market has one of the highest numbers of weekly departures across all London airports, although only easyJet competes directly with 23 weekly flights. Further, indirectly competing services are offered by both British Airways, from London Heathrow 42 times a week and daily from London City, and easyJet, daily from London Stansted and twice-daily from London Luton, as well as by bmi, which operates twice-daily from London Heathrow.

Cebu Pacific’s new Kalibo to Hong Kong service was officially launched by Percy Malonesio, Kalibo International Airport’s CAAP Manager; Diego Luces, Provincial Administrator; Alexander Lao, Cebu Pacific’s VP Commercial Planning; Gabrielle Quimpo, Aklan Vice Governor; and Rommel Evangelista, Marketing Representative, Hong Kong Tourism Board.

  • On 23 March, Cebu Pacific launched new service from Kalibo (KLO) to Hong Kong (HKG), bringing the total of Philippine destinations that it connects to Hong Kong up to four. The 1,500-kilometre route across the South China Sea is offered with a thrice-weekly frequency using a fleet of A319s. On the same day, Cebu Pacific inaugurated the 18th international route from its base in Manila (MNL). Flights to Xiamen (XMN), which also is the fourth Chinese destination served by the airline from the Philippine capital, will be offered with thrice-weekly frequencies using A320 equipment. While Cebu Pacific does not face any competition in the Kalibo to Hong Kong market, China Southern and Philippine Airlines each connect Manila and Xiamen on a daily basis.

China Airlines’ new scheduled service to Kagoshima in Japan was celebrated at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport with a sake cask-breaking ceremony.

China Airlines’ new scheduled service to Kagoshima in Japan was celebrated at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport with a sake cask-breaking ceremony.

The new route to Shizuoka was also celebrated at Taiwan’s main airport, after which Sun Huang-Hsiang, China Airlines’ president (right), travelled to the Japanese city to take part in the ceremony there.

  • China Airlines launched two new routes to Japan from its Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) hub on 25 March when the Taiwanese airline launched operations to Kagoshima (KOJ) in the south of Japan and Shizuoka (FSZ) between Tokyo and Nagoya. Each of the two routes is thrice-weekly, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with 158-seat 737-800 aircraft. China Airlines has previously served both destinations with charter flights, but this is the first time the route is operated as a scheduled service. This is China Airlines’ ninth and tenth Japanese destinations served with scheduled flights from Taoyuan.

  • China Southern launched a new leisure route to Thailand from its main hub in Guangzhou (CAN) in southern China on 26 March. The SkyTeam airline now serves Koh Samui (USM) twice-weekly with A319s, complementing its Thai services to Bangkok and Phuket out of Guangzhou.

  • Cimber Sterling, the Danish airline rebranding as a regional carrier, expanded its network out of Copenhagen (CPH) on 26 March when it launched six weekly flights to Växjö (VXO) in neighbouring Sweden’s Småland region. The 200-kilometre route is operated with 50-seat CRJ200 aircraft in cooperation with SAS, enabling connections at the Scandinavian flag carrier’s Copenhagen hub. All of the 15 passengers on the first flights from Smaland Airport had onward connections.

  • On 26 March, Cyprus Airways launched its second domestic service in Greece, connecting Athens (ATH) and Thessaloniki (SKG) with thrice-weekly frequencies. The 300-kilometre route within the Greek mainland will be served with equipment from the A320s family. While the Cypriot carrier, which is now for sale as reported in our recent analysis, faces competition from both Greek airlines, Aegean offers the most frequencies (59 weekly), followed by Olympic Air’s 39 weekly services.

Piedmont Triad Airport’s Authority’s Kevin Baker, Executive Director; Stephanie Freeman, Marketing Manager; Tom Marzoke, Delta Station Manager; and Piedmont’s Chairman Henry Isaacson celebrated the new LaGuardia route launched by Delta to the Greensboro, North Carolina airport with a selection of cakes, but a total of 12 US airports welcomed new Delta services from the New York City airport in the last week.

Although we have already reported on Delta’s launch of flights between New York LaGuardia and Nassau in the Bahamas, we just got hold of these pictures from the 2 March launch, which even featured a brass band! Minister of Tourism & Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Tourism Permanent Secretary Hyacinth Pratt and Delta Country Manager Richard Pile greeted disembarking passengers to Nassau.

  • On 25 March, Delta started the first batch of new destinations from New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA), and is now flying to 12 new US destinations. The move comes as a result of an extensive slot swap between Delta and US Airways, which involved LaGuardia and Washington National and was previously covered by analysis. Delta faces US Airways on as many as 10 routes, while American Airlines provides substantial competition in the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW) and Miami, FL (MIA) markets (98 and 70 weekly flights respectively). The following table summarises the new routes launched by Delta from LaGuardia. For detailed fleet information, please see our downloadable spreadsheet of all new routes launched this week.
Date Destination WF A/c Competition (WF)
26-Mar-12 Albany, NY (ALB) 7 ERJ145 US Airways (17)
25-Mar-12 Buffalo, NY (BUF) 37 CRJ900 US Airways (22)
25-Mar-12 Burlington, VT (BTV) 19 eqv US Airways (22)
25-Mar-12 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW) 36 E170 American Airlines (98), Spirit (7)
25-Mar-12 Greensboro, NC (GSO) 17 ERJ145 US Airways (29)
25-Mar-12 Louisville, KY (SDF) 6 ERJ145 US Airways (17)
25-Mar-12 Manchester, NH (MHT) 5 ERJ145 US Airways (23)
25-Mar-12 Miami, FL (MIA) 28 MD88 American Airlines (70)
25-Mar-12 Norfolk, VA (ORF) 17 ERJ145 US Airways (25)
25-Mar-12 Richmond, VA (RIC) 30 eqv US Airways (33)
25-Mar-12 Rochester, NY (ROC) 24 CRJ700 US Airways (17)
25-Mar-12 Syracuse, NY (SYR) 30 eqv US Airways (23)
Source: new route database

WF: Weekly Frequency

In addition to the LaGuardia expansion, Delta also launched a new transatlantic route, connecting Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) and Paris CDG (CDG). The daily service, which is operated with 767-300ER equipment, replaces the five-weekly flights previously offered by fellow SkyTeam carrier Air France.

Toulouse becomes easyJet’s newest base

Geert Van Dessel, Brussels Airport’s Manager Aviation Marketing, offered Belgian chocolates to the easyJet crew arriving to the capital of Europe on the first flight from the orange airline’s new Toulouse base.

easyJet’s Toulouse flights were also welcomed to Lille in northern France. The domestic route is operated three times weekly and was celebrated by the airport with easyJet macarons.

  • To celebrate the opening of its latest base in Toulouse (TLS) in the south-west of France, easyJet has introduced three new routes to Brussels (BRU), Lille (LIL) and Nice (NCE). Brussels will be served with four weekly flights, competing with 18 weekly flights operated by Brussels Airlines. On the less than 500-kilometre Nice route, easyJet will offer daily flights and compete with Air France’s 18 weekly flights. Vueling recently pulled off the route. On the Lille route, easyJet is offering three weekly flights against Air France (18 weekly flights) and Vueling (six weekly flights). However, the Vueling service is currently only on sale until 21 June. Three more new easyJet routes from Toulouse (to Basel, Porto and Venice) will be covered in next week’s In total, easyJet will then be offering 17 destinations from Toulouse this summer including six domestic routes (seven if you consider Basel in France!).

Estonian Air now serves the capital of neighbouring Latvia from its Tallinn base. Cutting the cake welcoming the airline to Riga Airport were Mati Vaarmann, Estonian Ambassador to Latvia; Aldis Mūrnieks, Member of the Board of Riga International Airport; and Tero Taskila, Estonian Air’s CEO.

Estonian Air’s Enn Lamp, Head of Sales and Distribution, and Sven Kukemelk, Business Analyst, explained the airline’s new network strategy during a press meeting at Vienna Airport as the airline launched six weekly flights from the Estonian capital. The airline’s mid-term plan is to increase the share of transfer traffic at Tallinn Airport to 30%, up from the current 2%.

  • Estonian Air launched five routes out of its Tallinn (TLL) hub during the first two days of the summer scheduling season; four of which are to the neighbouring countries Finland and Latvia, and one which is to the more distant Austria. In Finland, the airline now serves the country capital Helsinki (HEL) 18 times weekly as of 26 March. The short 100-kilometre hop across the bay is operated with 33-seat Saab 340 aircraft in competition with Finnair’s 34 flights a week. The airline last operated the route in 2009. Estonian Air also began serving the Finnish regional airports Jyväskylä (JYV) in central Finland, which is served seven times weekly (daily on weekdays and twice on Sundays) with CRJ900s, and Joensuu (JOE) in the east of the country four times weekly with Saab 340s. The airline’s new flights to the capital of neighbouring Latvia – Riga (RIX) – are operated 17 times weekly with Saab 340s in competition with airBaltic’s 49 flights a week, while the new route to Austria’s capital Vienna (VIE), a distance of 1,370 kilometres, is operated six times weekly with CRJ900s. Frequencies will increase to daily on 5 May.

Jerry Froggett, commercial director of the operating carrier Suckling Airways, and Andrew Bell, CEO Norwich International Airport. Outside the aircraft, they were joined by captain David Knight, operations director, and Ross Ellis, cabin crew.

Excited about Flybe’s franchise partner Loganair arranging for aircraft to be based in Norwich, which has resulted in the relaunch of Exeter flights are Jerry Froggett, commercial director of the operating carrier Suckling Airways, and Andrew Bell, CEO Norwich International Airport. Outside the aircraft, they were joined by captain David Knight, operations director, and Ross Ellis, cabin crew.

  • Flybe has added two new non-stop routes between the UK and Ireland with the introduction of new daily flights between Birmingham (BHX) and Waterford (WAT), and thrice-weekly flights between Leeds/Bradford (LBA) and Knock (NOC). This marks Flybe’s first foray into Waterford and will complement Aer Lingus Regional’s existing services from the airport to London Luton, London Southend and Manchester, all of which are operated by Aer Arann. The Leeds/Bradford service is Flybe’s third route to Knock, after starting Edinburgh flights last April, and Manchester flights last October. This helped Knock’s passenger numbers grow by 11% in 2011. Both of these new Flybe routes will be operated by the airline’s Q400s. Flybe’s franchise partner Loganair has re-started non-stop flights between Exeter (EXT) and Norwich (NWI) with a daily service operated by a 31-seater Dornier 328. Commenting on the launch, Loganair’s COO Jonathan Hinkles said: “Today’s launch is a significant step in the development of Flybe’s network of services from Norwich International Airport. We were delighted with the level of advance ticket sales ahead of the launch and are confident the re-instatement of this daily route will offer our customers a speedy and cost-effective service between Norwich and Exeter. As well as helping to create 15 new jobs in Norwich, the return of this important regional route is great news for the local economies of both Norwich and Exeter.”

  • Fuji Dream Airlines launched a new, daily domestic service between Nagoya Komaki (NKM) and Niigata (KIJ) on 25 March. Flights operate with 76-seat E-170 aircraft and compete indirectly with ANA’s twice-daily operations to Niigata from Nagoya’s main airport Chubu Centrair.

  • Lufthansa’s in-house LCC germanwings has launched three new routes from its Cologne/Bonn (CGN) base. Most significantly, it has taken over the London Heathrow (LHR) service previously marketed under the Lufthansa brand, but operated by bmi aircraft. With Lufthansa about to rid itself of the airline, it had to decide how to continue the route and has decided that germanwings should take over the three times daily service. Only last month, germanwings started its first flights to Heathrow from Stuttgart. Jerez (XRY) and Naples (NAP) have also been added to its Cologne/Bonn network, with the Spanish destination served weekly and the Italian destination served four times weekly. Naples will also be served this summer by airberlin. In Stuttgart (STR), germanwings has added flights to Venice Treviso (TSF), which it will serve with three weekly flights. It already serves Treviso from both its Cologne/Bonn and Hannover bases.

The launch of Helitt Líneas Aéreas in November 2011 might have gone unnoticed outside of Spain, but the airline’s 24-year-old CEO Abel Pizarro Gomes is determined to offer low-cost service without compromising on the glamour. And if starting a new Spanish airline in the current economic climate was not enough, Helitt enters the most neglected domestic markets.

  • On 25 March, Helitt Líneas Aéreas became the first airline in over 14 months to operate scheduled services from Badajoz (BJZ) in the western Spanish province of Extremadura, as it launched services to Madrid (MAD), Barcelona (BCN) and Malaga (AGP). Seven, four and two weekly frequencies respectively are offered on each route. In addition, Helitt now offers four weekly flights from Malaga (AGP) to Barcelona (BCN), a route on which it faces competition from Ryanair’s 28 and Vueling’s 30 weekly frequencies. The Malaga-based airline, which itself was launched as recently as late November 2011, operates a dynamically-expanding domestic network using a small fleet of three 68-seat ATR72s.

  • With the start of the summer season, the Hainan Airlines subsidiary Hong Kong Express further expanded its presence in Mainland China, adding new services from Hong Kong (HKG) to Changsha (CSX). The south-central Chinese city becomes the eight Mainland Chinese destination, and is now offered with four weekly frequencies operated with 737-800 equipment. Cathay Pacific’s subsidiary Dragonair serves the route with daily flights.

  • With the start of the summer season, Jeju Air launched its eighth international and fourth Japanese destination from Seoul Incheon (ICN). Nagoya (NGO), which serves Japan’s third most populous city, is now offered with daily frequencies using a fleet of 737-800s, but the airline offers further seven weekly flights from another Seoul airport, Gimpo. There is fierce competition on the 1,000-kilometre route, as both Korean and Asiana offer twice-daily frequencies and ANA provides further seven weekly flights.

  • On 25 March, Korean Air inaugurated daily services from Seoul Incheon (ICN) to Jeju (CJU). The 450-kilometre route to Jeju Island, which is located in the Korea Strait, will be served with 737-800s. The carrier previously offered services from Jeju to the South Korean capital using Seoul Gimpo Airport. The only carrier to provide competition on the route is Asiana, which offers seven weekly services.

  • Lucky Air launched seven domestic routes within Mainland China on 25 March. The Hainan Airlines subsidiary uses 737-800 aircraft, and all but one of the new routes is operated with daily frequencies.
Origin Destination WF Competition (WF)
Guilin (KWL) Xiamen (XMN) 4 Xiamen Airlines (14), Beijing Capital Airlines (7)
Kunming (KMG) Guilin (KWL) 7 China Southern (11)
Kunming (KMG) Hangzhou (HGH) 7 Air China (14), China Eastern (14), Beijing Capital Airlines (7), Xiamen Airlines (7)
Kunming (KMG) Nanning (NNG) 7 Kunming Airlines (7), China Southern (7), Xiamen Airlines (7), China Eastern (2)
Kunming (KMG) Fuzhou (FOC) 7 Shenzhen Airlines (7), Xiamen Airlines (7)
Tianjin (TSN) Dalian (DLC) 7 Tianjin Airlines (17), China Southern (14)
Wuhan (WUH) Shenyang (SHE) 7 Hainan Airlines (7), Shenzhen Airlines (7), China Southern (7), Beijing Capital Airlines (4)
Source: new route database    WF: Weekly Frequency

An early morning breakfast for passengers on Lufthansa’s first flight between the Turkish capital Ankara and its main hub at Frankfurt. The 04:20 flight was welcomed with this cake. Notably, Lufthansa has served Ankara from Munich for an entire 50 years.

Hamburg Airport’s Head of Aviation Marketing Jörgen Kearsley celebrated Lufthansa’s new route to St Petersburg from the northern German airport where Lufthansa is growing. This is Lufthansa’s second Russian route from Hamburg after its Moscow services.

Lufthansa expanded its Moscow offering by adding flights to its second airport in the city; now flying twice-daily from Frankfurt to Moscow Vnukovo. Cutting the ribbon at the airport’s brand-new terminal were Vassily Aleksandrov, Director General Moscow Vnukovo Airport, and Oliver Schneider, Lufthansa’s Director Operations & Airport Services Russia & CIS. The gentlemen then welcomed the first passenger who was given a Lufthansa A380 model aircraft.

Lufthansa’s fifth destination in Mainland China is Qingdao, which the German airline now serves via Shengyang three times weekly from its Frankfurt hub.

Lufthansa expands with 12 new routes

Posing in Krakow with the crew from the inaugural Lufthansa flight from Düsseldorf were Lufthansa’s Bart Buyse, GM Poland, and Ofer Kirsh, Regional Director Central and Eastern Europe, along with Kraków Airport’s CEO Jan Pamuła and Grzegorz

Lufthansa expands with 12 new routes

Lufthansa now serves Poznan in western Poland from Düsseldorf in addition to its routes from Frankfurt and Munich. Flights operate six times weekly with CRJ900 aircraft.

  • Lufthansa was very active in launching new routes at the start of the summer season; adding 12 routes to its network in the first two days of the scheduling season. Düsseldorf (DUS) and Frankfurt (FRA) each got five routes, while Hamburg (HAM) got two and Munich (MUC) one. Notable new destinations for the airline are Moscow Vnukovo (VKO), which becomes the airline’s second Moscow airport after Domodedovo, and the two Chinese airports Shenyang (SHE) and Qingdao (TAO), which bring the Star Alliance airline’s Mainland China airports to five after Beijing, Shanghai Pudong and Nanjing after Guangzhou services just were dropped.
Date Origin Destination WF A/c Competition (WF)
26-Mar-12 Düsseldorf (DUS) Bologna (BLQ) 6 CRJ700
25-Mar-12 Düsseldorf (DUS) Catania (CTA) 2 CRJ900 airberlin (3)
25-Mar-12 Düsseldorf (DUS) Helsinki (HEL) 7 B735 Finnair (11), airberlin (7)
25-Mar-12 Düsseldorf (DUS) Krakow (KRK) 6 CRJ900
25-Mar-12 Düsseldorf (DUS) Poznan (POZ) 6 CRJ900
25-Mar-12 Frankfurt (FRA) Ankara (ESB) 7 A321 SunExpress Deutschland (3)
25-Mar-12 Frankfurt (FRA) Dubrovnik (DBV) 1 E190 Croatia Airlines (7)
25-Mar-12 Frankfurt (FRA) Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) 14 A320
26-Mar-12 Frankfurt (FRA) Qingdao (TAO; via Shenyang/SHE) 3 A343
26-Mar-12 Frankfurt (FRA) Shenyang (SHE) 3 A343
25-Mar-12 Hamburg (HAM) St. Petersburg (LED) 2 B733 Rossiya (6)
25-Mar-12 Hamburg (HAM) Venice (VCE) 2 CRJ900
25-Mar-12 Munich (MUC) Valencia (VLC) 1 A319 airberlin (3)
Source: new route database & SRS Analyser for w/c 2 April 2012

Mandarin Airlines’ new route was inaugurated to the tune played on this giant drum by airline officials with the helping hand of the Taipei Songshan Airport management.

  • On 25 March, Mandarin Airlines, the regional subsidiary of Taiwan’s China Airlines, launched new route from its base at Taipei Songshan (TSA) across the Taiwan Strait to Wenzhou (WNZ) in south-eastern China. The twice-weekly service, which is the airline’s first link to Mainland China from Taipei’s secondary airport, is operated with 97-seat E190s. No other airline provides competition on the route at the moment.

  • London Luton headquartered (but Swiss-owned) Monarch Airlines is expanding its scheduled operations this summer with the introduction of some 17 new routes. For starters, the airline is launching seven routes between its four UK bases and three Italian airports. Milan Malpensa (MXP) will be served from three UK bases, with Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Venice (VCE) both served from two bases. All routes will be operated by the airline’s fleet of A320s. Direct competition will be provided by a variety of carriers including Air One, bmibaby, British Airways, easyJet and Flybe.
Launch date Airline From To WF Competition (WF)
25-Mar-12 Monarch Birmingham (BHX) Milan Malpensa (MXP) 4 Flybe (7)
25-Mar-12 Monarch Birmingham (BHX) Rome Fiumicino (FCO) 5 bmibaby (4)
25-Mar-12 Monarch Birmingham (BHX) Venice (VCE) 4
25-Mar-12 Monarch London Gatwick (LGW) Milan Malpensa (MXP) 6 Air One (14), easyJet (32)
25-Mar-12 Monarch London Gatwick (LGW) Venice (VCE) 4 British Airways (21), easyJet (14)
25-Mar-12 Monarch London Luton (LTN) Rome Fiumicino (FCO) 3
25-Mar-12 Monarch Manchester (MAN) Milan Malpensa (MXP) 4 Flybe (7)
Source: new route database, SRS Analyser.  WF: Weekly Frequency

  • On 25 March, Montenegro Airlines relaunched its service from Tivat (TIV) to London Gatwick (LGW), which it previously operated 2008-2009. Flights to the Mediterranean Montenegrin town are now offered with twice-weekly frequencies and operated with 102-seat F100 aircraft. After Moscow and Belgrade, London is the third international destination served by Montenegro’s national airline from Tivat, but services to the British capital were available beforehand from Podgorica. At present, no other carrier operates the route.

  • On 26 March, the Russian airline NordStar Airlines launched new services from the Siberian city of Krasnojarsk (KJA) to Abakan (ABA) in neighbouring Khakassia, and to Barnaul (BAX), the capital of the Altai Krai region, which is located 660 kilometres south-west of Krasnojarsk. While at two flights a week, the Barnaul service operates with half the frequency of its Abakan counterpart, both destinations are served with ATR42 equipment. The airline, which itself is headquartered in the north-Siberian city of Norilsk, now serves a total of 12 domestic destinations from its Krasnojarsk base.

Torp Airport in Sandefjord near Oslo baked this cake to welcome Norwegian’s new domestic service to Harstad/Narvik Airport at Evenes in northern Norway. The crew also enjoyed the cake, as did the crew for Norwegian’s first flight from the airport to Berlin, which also launched the same day.

  • Last week saw the launch of Norwegian’s first services to Cologne/Bonn (CGN) in Germany, from its main base at Oslo (OSL). Flights will operate three times weekly (with a fourth frequency from July) and in effect replace the airline’s services to nearby Düsseldorf that were dropped at the end of the winter season. In addition, Norwegian has added five more routes from Oslo Torp (TRF); one domestic route, one to Germany, and three ‘leisure’ routes to Antalya (AYT), Nice (NCE) and Palma de Mallorca (PMI). Only on Palma does the airline face direct competition with Ryanair also providing two weekly flights.
Launch date From To WF
25-Mar-12 Oslo (OSL) Cologne/Bonn (CGN) 3
25-Mar-12 Oslo Torp (TRF) Antalya (AYT) 2
26-Mar-12 Oslo Torp (TRF) Berlin (SXF) 2
26-Mar-12 Oslo Torp (TRF) Harstad/Narvik (EVE) 2
25-Mar-12 Oslo Torp (TRF) Nice (NCE) 2
26-Mar-12 Oslo Torp (TRF) Palma de Mallorca (PMI) 2
Source: new route database

The prefect of Cascavel, Edgar Bueno, and the town’s first lady were amongst the passengers on the inaugural Passaredo service from Curitiba to Cascavel, and upon arrival celebrated the new route together with Passaredo’s Mário Andreoli, Commercial Manager, and José Eduardo Molina, Sales Manager Southern Brazil.

  • On 25 March, Passaredo Linheas Aereas launched new service connecting Cascavel (CAC) and Curitiba (CWB), which both are located in the south-Brazilian state of Paraná. The airline, which operates a fleet of 15 ERJ145 aircraft, offers six weekly frequencies on the route, but faces competition from TRIP, which currently serves the market with 22 weekly flights. The 440-kilometre route to Cascavel is Passaredo’s third nonstop service from Paraná’s capital, and its launch, which was initially scheduled on 12 March, had to be postponed owing to ANAC temporarily withdrawing its authorization. Passaredo and TRIP are currently the only airlines to operate scheduled services from Cascavel.

  • Japan’s latest LCC Peach has launched its third route from its base at Osaka Kansai (KIX). Nagasaki (NGS) will be served twice daily with the airline’s A320s. No other carrier currently operates this route, although ANA and JAL both operate three daily flights from Osaka Itami airport to Nagasaki, and Skymark flies seven times daily from Kobe Airport (also in Osaka bay) to Nagasaki.

On 21 March, shortly ahead of the summer season, Qatar Airways launched service to its 19th African destination, this time connecting Doha (DOH) with Kigali (KGL). The Rwandan capital is the third destination to welcome Qatar Airways this year, and will be served on a daily basis via Entebbe in Uganda using A320s. Al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways, described Rwanda as “one of many underserved markets across Africa,” while Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, Albert Nsengiyumva might have revealed future considerations, when he stated that: “Rwanda was keen to set up a partnership with Qatar Airways to benefit our national carrier.” Qatar Airways now serves 113 international destinations in spite of only being a 15-year-old airline.

  • On 21 March, shortly ahead of the summer season, Qatar Airways launched service to its 19th African destination, this time connecting Doha (DOH) with Kigali (KGL). The Rwandan capital is the third destination to welcome Qatar Airways this year, and will be served on a daily basis via Entebbe in Uganda using A320s. Al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways, described Rwanda as “one of many underserved markets across Africa,” while Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, Albert Nsengiyumva might have revealed future considerations, when he stated that: “Rwanda was keen to set up a partnership with Qatar Airways to benefit our national carrier.” Qatar Airways now serves 113 international destinations in spite of only being a 15-year-old airline.

Traditional Danish Kaj cakes were served as Billund in Denmark became a Ryanair base. Passengers on the first flight to Krakow were handed the celebratory cakes – based on a Danish cartoon but also an illustration of Irish leprechauns - by Legoman and a leprechaun along with Billund Airport’s Marketing Manager Jesper Klausholm and Ryanair’s Nordic Sales & Marketing Executive Elina Hakkarainen.

Ryanair’s new route to Tallinn from Manchester was celebrated in the Estonian capital with a football-themed cake celebration.

Ryanair’s new route to Tallinn from Manchester was celebrated in the Estonian capital with a football-themed cake celebration. The cake was cut by Ryanair’s Nordic & Baltic Sales & Marketing Executive Elina Hakkarainen and Tallinn Airport’s MD Erik Sakkov.

Eager to eat the cake is the airport director Piervittorio Farabbi (centre) along with his daughter (right) and Luca Siragusa, Ryanair’s Sales & Marketing Intern for Italy (left).

This cake was baked to celebrate Ryanair’s new services to Perugia in Umbria; ‘the Green Heart of Italy’. This week, flights have launched to Girona in Spain and in next week’s issue, we will report on the domestic service from Milan Bergamo. Eager to eat the cake is the airport director Piervittorio Farabbi (centre) along with his daughter (right) and Luca Siragusa, Ryanair’s Sales & Marketing Intern for Italy (left).

Poland's Bydgoszcz Airport celebrated Ryanair's new route to Glasgow Prestwick with this substantial cake, which was served in the airport's departure hall. Including the Girona route, which also launched this week and will be reported on in next week's, the Irish low-cost carrier now dominates the airport with six destinations. As much as we wanted, we did not manage to get in touch with the lady taking the picture of the cake to get hold of her presumably perfect shot of the cutting, so on this occasion photo credits go to Jarosław Pruss.

  • Having apparently woken from its winter slumbers during which time passenger numbers were down, 80 aircraft were parked, and the only new routes launched so far in 2012 were in Budapest (where the airline responded rapidly to Malev’s collapse), Ryanair is growing once more with the launch this week of new bases (in Billund and Palma de Mallorca) and some 70 new routes (with many more to follow next week) involving 74 airports. The following table summarises the many new routes. For competitor analysis, see our regular downloadable spreadsheet of all new routes launched this week.
Launch From Code To Code WF
25-Mar-12 Barcelona BCN East Midlands EMA 7
25-Mar-12 Barcelona BCN Glasgow Prestwick PIK 7
25-Mar-12 Barcelona BCN Trieste TRS 1
25-Mar-12 Bari BRI Maastricht MST 2
22-Mar-12 Billund BLL Carcassonne CCF 2
22-Mar-12 Billund BLL Krakow KRK 3
24-Mar-12 Billund BLL Corfu CFU 1
24-Mar-12 Billund BLL Zadar ZAD 2
25-Mar-12 Billund BLL Venice Treviso TSF 2
25-Mar-12 Bologna BLQ Budapest BUD 2
25-Mar-12 Brussels Charleroi CRL Memmingen FMM 7
26-Mar-12 Brussels Charleroi CRL Rodez RDZ 2
26-Mar-12 Budapest BUD Alicante ALC 2
26-Mar-12 Budapest BUD Eindhoven EIN 4
26-Mar-12 Budapest BUD Malaga AGP 2
26-Mar-12 Budapest BUD Pisa PSA 2
25-Mar-12 Faro FAO Karlsruhe-Baden FKB 1
26-Mar-12 Frankfurt Hahn HHN Gothenburg City GSE 3
25-Mar-12 Girona GRO Cagliari CAG 7
25-Mar-12 Girona GRO Doncaster DSA 2
25-Mar-12 Girona GRO Gdansk GDN 2
25-Mar-12 Girona GRO Ibiza IBZ 4
25-Mar-12 Girona GRO Madrid MAD 14
25-Mar-12 Girona GRO Nador NDR 2
25-Mar-12 Girona GRO Perugia PEG 2
25-Mar-12 Girona GRO Weeze NRN 7
26-Mar-12 Girona GRO Poitiers PIS 2
26-Mar-12 Girona GRO Skelleftea SFT 2
26-Mar-12 Girona GRO Stockholm Västerås VST 2
26-Mar-12 Girona GRO Thessaloniki SKG 3
25-Mar-12 Glasgow Prestwick PIK Bydgoszcz BZG 2
25-Mar-12 Knock NOC Milan Bergamo BGY 2
26-Mar-12 Leeds/Bradford LBA Milan Bergamo BGY 2
26-Mar-12 Leeds/Bradford LBA Tenerife Sur TFS 2
26-Mar-12 London Luton LTN Alghero AHO 2
26-Mar-12 Malaga AGP Leipzig/Halle LEJ 2
25-Mar-12 Malta MLA London Stansted STN 4
26-Mar-12 Malta MLA Bournemouth BOH 2
25-Mar-12 Manchester MAN Biarritz BIQ 2
25-Mar-12 Manchester MAN Murcia MJV 4
25-Mar-12 Manchester MAN Reus REU 2
26-Mar-12 Manchester MAN Beziers BZR 2
26-Mar-12 Manchester MAN Tallinn TLL 2
26-Mar-12 Manchester MAN Valencia VLC 2
25-Mar-12 Marseille MRS Bordeaux BOD 7
25-Mar-12 Marseille MRS Paris Beauvais BVA 7
26-Mar-12 Marseille MRS Ibiza IBZ 2
26-Mar-12 Marseille MRS Zadar ZAD 2
25-Mar-12 Milan Bergamo BGY Bremen BRE 2
25-Mar-12 Oslo Rygge RYG Lodz LCJ 1
25-Mar-12 Oslo Rygge RYG Toulon TLN 2
26-Mar-12 Oslo Rygge RYG Corfu CFU 1
26-Mar-12 Oslo Rygge RYG Pula PUY 2
21-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Malaga AGP 4
21-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Marseille MRS 3
21-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Santander SDR 5
22-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Maastricht MST 3
22-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Paris Beauvais BVA 3
22-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Santiago de Compostela SCQ 4
25-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Gothenburg City GSE 2
25-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Krakow KRK 2
25-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Oslo Torp TRF 2
26-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Aarhus AAR 2
26-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Haugesund HAU 1
26-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Poznan POZ 2
26-Mar-12 Palma de Mallorca PMI Stockholm Västerås VST 2
25-Mar-12 Pisa PSA Wroclaw WRO 2
26-Mar-12 Pisa PSA Haugesund HAU 2
26-Mar-12 Pisa PSA Malmö MMX 2
26-Mar-12 Vilnius VNO Paris Beauvais BVA 3
Source: new route database
WF: Weekly Frequency

  • This summer season sees Russia’s largest domestic carrier S7 launch a total of four new routes; one domestic and three international. On 25 March, the oneworld airline expanded its presence at Moscow Domodedovo (DME) with daily services to both Minsk (MSQ) and Orenburg (REN). Flights to the Belarusian capital are offered using A319s and face direct competition from Belavia’s 28 weekly frequencies; Aeroflot offers further 21 weekly flights from Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. The 1,500-kilometre routing to Orenburg, which is located near the Kazakh border south-east of Moscow, is operated by S7’s subsidiary Globus with a fleet of B737-400s. Orenair already serves the market with 21 weekly flights and, again, Aeroflot provides indirect competition with its daily services from Sheremetyevo. In addition to its Moscow expansion, S7 launched services to Tokyo Narita (NRT) from its base in Vladivostok (VVO), as well as from Khabarovsk (KHV). The two cities, respectively the largest and the second-largest in the Russian Far East, are now connected to Narita each with twice-weekly flights. A320s are used in both markets, and competition comes from Vladivostok Air, the region’s largest carrier, which offers respectively two and one weekly frequencies to the Japanese capital airport.

A Viking cake was baked to welcome SAS to Katowice in southern Poland from its hub at Copenhagen Airport. SAS is increasingly focusing on expanding its network in northern Europe to feed its hub and Poland is a key market in this strategy.

  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines launched four new routes as the summer scheduling season started. From its Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) base, the Star Alliance airline launched two routes to southern Europe, whereas its main hub at Copenhagen (CPH) got two eastern routes in line with the airline’s focus strategy on hubbing from nearby markets. From the Swedish capital, the airline launched each three weekly flights to Barcelona (BCN) and Dubrovnik (DBV) on 25 March. The Spanish route competes with Vueling’s 10 and Norwegian’s four flights a week. From Denmark’s capital, SAS began serving the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad (KGD) the same day, having once operated the route between 1993 and 2001. Flights on the 500-kilometre route operate three times weekly with CRJ900 aircraft. The following day, SAS expanded its Polish network by launching four weekly flights to Katowice (KTW) in the south of Poland. This makes the city SAS’ fifth Polish destination after Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw. Flights on the new route operate four times weekly.

Posing together with Singapore media, agencies and competition winners in Darwin after SilkAir’s touchdown were CheeSen, SilkAir Manager NT;, Jim Parashos (NT Airports Director Airline & Airport Services; Ian Kew, NT Airports CEO; Nurling Abdullah, SilkAir Cabin Crew; Chris Barlow, NT Airports Chairman; Marvin Tan, SilkAir CEO; Capt David Hawkes; Capt Hari Shankkar V S; Chloe Lim, SilkAir Cabin Crew; Malarndirri McCarthy, Northern Territory Minster for Tourism; and John Fitzgerald, Tourism NT CEO.

  • SilkAir, Singapore Airlines regional subsidiary, expanded its network into Australia on 26 March when the A320 family operator launched four weekly flights from its Singapore (SIN) base to Darwin (DRW) in Australia’s Northern Territory, complementing its parent airline’s services to other Australian gateways. The services are operated overnight on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, returning from Darwin the following day. Competition for the premium regional carrier on the route comes from the low-cost airline Jetstar’s nine flights a week. SilkAir will partner with Virgin Australia to provide onward connections from Darwin. SilkAir’s CEO Marvin Tan commented: “We are immensely excited to introduce our first destination in the South-West Pacific. Darwin is well known for its mining and tourism industries and we believe our new service will have much to offer to both the business and leisure traveller.”

Skymark Airlines starts flights from Osaka Kansai
  • Japan’s Skymark Airlines has responded to Peach’s emergence by launching its first flights from Osaka Kansai (KIX). Tokyo Haneda (HND) and Okinawa/Naha (OKA) will be served with daily flights, while Sapporo/Chitose (CTS) will be served with two daily flights. Okinawa services will increase to three per day by June, while Sapporo frequencies will gradually be increased to four per day. Peach currently only operates on the Sapporo route, but ANA and JAL both operates multiple daily flights on all three routes.

The friendly played last summer between Bern’s FC Thun and Cologne’s FC Köln ended up with a draw, but local passion for football found its way onto this spectacular cake, which was baked to celebrate SkyWork’s new route connecting the two cities. It is here seen presented by Cologne Bonn Airport’s Kerstin Schweitzer, Head of Business Development and Aviation Marketing Europe & Low Cost, and Sebastian Maurans, Manager Business Development and Aviation Marketing Europe & Low Cost, to SkyWork’s Head of Sales, Tom Kurzweg, and GAS’s Managing Director, Andreas Becker.

  • The Swiss regional carrier SkyWork further expanded the offering from its base in Bern (BRN). The start of the summer season sees the airline introduce services to Cologne/Bonn (CGN) in Germany, as well as Thessaloniki (SKG) in Greece. The Cologne/Bonn routing will be operated with 11 weekly frequencies, including two daily flights during the week and an additional service on Sundays; 31-seat Do328 turbo-prop aircraft will be deployed on the route. Flights to the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki will be offered on a twice-weekly basis, albeit with larger Q400s, which accommodate 72 passengers. Neither of the routes was operated beforehand.

  • With the start of the summer season, Solomon Airlines launched two new routes from its base at Honiara (HIR), connecting the city to Nadi (NAN) and Port Moresby (POM), capitals of neighbouring Fiji and Papua New Guinea, respectively. While Nadi is offered with thrice-weekly frequencies, flights for Port Moresby leave once a week. Both destinations will be served by Solomon Airlines’ fleet of A320s. In the Nadi market, the airline will face direct competition from Papua’s Air Niugini, which flies the route thrice-weekly, as well as indirectly from Fiji’s Air Pacific, which offers a weekly flight via Port Vila in Vanuatu. Air Niugini will also be the only competitor on the Port Moresby routing, where it offers direct flights with thrice-weekly frequencies.

  • Occasionally controversial self-styled Ultra Low Cost Carrier Spirit Airlines has launched two new routes to further grow its presence at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) in Texas. A new daily service to Boston (BOS) operated with an A319 will compete with American Airlines who offer over 50 weekly flights (and will be joined by JetBlue starting in May), while Phoenix-Mesa (AZA) will also be served with daily flights using an A320. “Spirit’s launch of flights from DFW to Boston Logan and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport means more good news for our passengers in the form of more choices and great fares,” said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW International Airport. “We’re glad to see Spirit Airlines continue to expand at DFW, because that shows its strong commitment to the Dallas/Fort Worth community.”

Thai AirAsia’s new routes from Bangkok to Chongqing and Chennai were celebrated by Guan Mu, Chinese Ambassador to Thailand; Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO Thai AirAsia; and Anil Wadhwa, Indian Ambassador to Thailand. The low-cost airline’s CEO highlighted China and India’s economic and population growth as reasons for making them interesting markets.

  • Thai AirAsia has added two more destinations from its Bangkok (BKK) base. Chennai (MAA) will be served with five weekly flights, while Chongqing (CKG) will get daily flights. Chennai is already served daily by Thai Airways, but Chongqing is a new route from the Thai capital. Thai AirAsia will now serve 31 destinations non-stop from Bangkok this summer, including four others in China (Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, and Xiamen) and one other in India (Kolkata). Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO Thai AirAsia, commented: “Both India and China’s economic markets are expanding at exponential rates. Apart from their population and status as rising economic powers, both economic gateways have a very bright future ahead. By linking Bangkok to a new and unique destination such as Chongqing, we are hoping to stimulate investment between the two cities while bringing new exciting travel experiences to the people of both places. It was a bold move to make, but that is part of our idea about leadership.” He continued: “On the other hand, Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is another cultural hub in India which has a good blend of modernity and tradition. As a Gateway of South India, Chennai is the second largest exporter of IT in India. We also hope that this new route will open up business gateways for Indian business people who are interested in investing in Thailand.”

Tunis Air launches new route from Tunis to Lille

As Tunis Air arrived in Lille in northern France, macarons with the airline logo were baked alongside those with the easyJet, Vueling and airport logos to celebrate the new summer season services at the airport.

  • On March 26, Tunis Air launched twice-weekly services from Tunis (TUN) to its ninth French destination, Lille (LIL), bringing the total of weekly France-bound departures it offers from Tunis to 89. The airline operates the route with various narrow-body aircraft. Lille, which is located in the north of France, did not have a link to Tunisia until now.

The first passengers to travel on Turkish Airlines from Moscow Vnukovo Airport were greeted by the airport’s director general Vassily Aleksandrov. Turkish Airlines became the first Star Alliance member to move its operations to the Moscow airport that recently saw its new Terminal A completed, although Lufthansa shortly thereafter expanded its Moscow operations by also serving Vnukovo.

  • Turkish Airlines moved Moscow airports on 24 March when the Star Alliance airline stopped serving Moscow Sheremetyevo and instead began operating its two routes to the Russian capital to Moscow Vnukovo (VKO). Flights from the Star Alliance airline’s main hub at Istanbul Atatürk (IST) are operated 28 times weekly with a mixed fleet, while the airline’s Antalya (AYT) flights operate daily with A321 aircraft. Although most Star Alliance members serve Domodedovo Airport in Moscow, Lufthansa is the second member of the alliance to serve Vnukovo after Turkish Airlines.

Welcoming the first enthused passengers arriving at Pensacola International Airport on the new US Airways service from Washington National Airport were Howard Kass, US Airways’ VP Legal and Government Affairs; Laura Coleman, US Airways’ PSN Station Manager; Melinda Crawford, Director Pensacola International Airport; John Asmar, Chief of Staff, the City of Pensacola; Donnie McMahon, Director McMahon & Hadder Insurance; and Bill Reynolds, City Administrator for the City of Pensacola, accompanied by the red-suited Pensacola Bay Area Chamber Ambassadors.

  • US Airways launched 13 new routes on 25 March; all with regional aircraft and all but one domestic (the exception being Ottawa in Canada). Two of the routes are from the Star Alliance airline’s Charlotte, NC (CLT) hub, while the remaining 11 routes are part of the airline’s expansion at Washington National, DC (DCA), which is the result of a slot swap with Delta Air Lines that in return expanded at New York LaGuardia in the last week. Omaha, NE (OMA) notably received new routes from both US Airways bases.
Origin Destination WF A/c Competition (WF)
Charlotte, NC (CLT) Des Moines, IA (DSM) 14 CRJ200
Charlotte, NC (CLT) Omaha, NE (OMA) 14 CRJ700
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Birmingham, AL (BHM) 21 CRJ200
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Fayetteville, NC (FAY) 7 CRJ200
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Fort Walton Beach/Valparaiso, FL (VPS) 7 CRJ200
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Jacksonville, NC (OAJ) 7 CRJ200
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Little Rock, AR (LIT) 14 E170
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Long Island/Islip (ISP) 14 CRJ200
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Memphis, TN (MEM) 21 CRJ200 Delta (19)
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Omaha, NE (OMA) 7 E170 Frontier (12)
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Ottawa (YOW) 21 CRJ200 Air Canada (12)
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Pensacola, FL (PNS) 14 CRJ200
Washington Reagan, DC (DCA) Tallahassee, FL (TLH) 7 CRJ200
Source: new route database & SRS Analyser for w/c 2 April 2012

  • On 25 March, Vladivostok Air launched new route connecting Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) with Siberia’s third largest city Ulan-Ude (UUD). The new destination, located about 100 kilometres southeast of Lake Baikal, becomes the fourth to be offered by Vladivostok Air from the Moscow airport, and is served with five weekly frequencies. Russian-made 142-seat TU204 aircraft are deployed on the route. There is no direct competition on the route, although Yakutia Airlines serves the capital of the Republic of Buryatia with three-weekly flights from another Moscow airport, Vnukovo, and S7 flies daily from Domodedovo Airport.

Lille Airport welcomed Vueling with a cake with the airline’s ‘cloud’ corporate identity. Passengers travelling on the first flight were also treated to singing. The northern French airport now has a connection with Barcelona six times a week.

Welcoming Vueling’s crew to Hamburg with a cake and flowers was the airport’s Senior Manager Aviation Marketing Gesa Zaremba.

Andreas Ley, Berlin Airports’ Senior Consultant Airline Marketing, welcomed the Vueling crew from Barcelona. The route to Berlin Tegel, which competes with airberlin, will be moved to the brand-new Berlin Brandenburg Airport in June.

Vueling begins major expansion from Barcelona

As of the start of this summer season, Rome Fiumicino is Vueling’s third non-Spanish operating base after Toulouse and Amsterdam. An 180-seat A320 is now based at the Italian capital airport, as here seen announced on 21 March by ADR Airport Managing Director Elia Pistola and Vueling’s CEO Alex Cruz. The immediate result of the new base, in addition to improved scheduling and increased frequencies, is the new service to Nantes in France.

  • Europe’s fourth-biggest LCC Vueling is clearly determined to hold on to that position despite the 30% growth last year of fifth ranked Pegasus. It plans to grow by 20-25% this year (link to this week’s 30-second interview with CEO Alex Cruz) with some 50 new routes being launched this summer, many from its main base in Barcelona (BCN). The following table summarises the new routes launched so far with several more to be reported on next week and then a further batch of new routes starting in late-June. For competitor data on these routes please check out our free, downloadable spreadsheet of all new routes starting this week.
Launch date From To WF
25-Mar-12 Barcelona (BCN) Aalborg (AAL) 2
25-Mar-12 Barcelona (BCN) Berlin Tegel (TXL) 7
25-Mar-12 Barcelona (BCN) Brest (BES) 2
25-Mar-12 Barcelona (BCN) Copenhagen (CPH) 11
25-Mar-12 Barcelona (BCN) Florence (FLR) 7
25-Mar-12 Barcelona (BCN) Hamburg (HAM) 4
25-Mar-12 Barcelona (BCN) Lille (LIL) 6
25-Mar-12 Barcelona (BCN) Munich (MUC) 14
25-Mar-12 Barcelona (BCN) Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) 10
25-Mar-12 Bilbao (BIO) Lanzarote (ACE) 2
26-Mar-12 Bilbao (BIO) Paris Orly (ORY) 4
26-Mar-12 Bilbao (BIO) Tenerife Norte (TFN) 3
25-Mar-12 Nantes (NTE) Malaga (AGP) 3
25-Mar-12 Nantes (NTE) Rome Fiumicino (FCO) 3
25-Mar-12 Paris Orly (ORY) Florence (FLR) 4
25-Mar-12 Paris Orly (ORY) Lisbon (LIS) 4
Source: new route database, Vueling website

  • Yamal Airlines launched a new route to Novosibirsk (OVB), the largest city in Siberia that was analysed in last week, on 26 March. Flights operate three times weekly from Tyumen (TJM) in western Siberia with 50-seat CRJ200 aircraft.


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